SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced the formation of the Center for Businesses in Transition to deal with what it calls a “looming” problem.
The center will help interested retiring business owners in preserving their businesses for future generations. People in the baby-boomer generation own more than 10,000 businesses throughout the Adirondack North Country region and they’ll be “looking to retire” over the next several years in what has been named the “silver tsunami,” ANCA said in a news release.
Without a transition plan in place, ANCA contends, many of these businesses are in “danger of closing, depriving their communities of employers as well as the vibrancy that helps our towns and villages thrive,” the organization added.
“We’re calling it a center,” Kate Fish, executive director of ANCA, said. “But it won’t be housed in one location. Our region is so large, our staff will be on the road, using technology and collaborating with other organizations to bring targeted assistance to communities across northern New York.”
ANCA is seeking funding to formally “open” the Center for Businesses in Transition later in 2018, Fish noted.
The organization is pursuing a combination of state and federal grants along with private and foundation funding, Jacob Vennie-Vollrath, regional advocacy coordinator, said in an email response to a BJNN inquiry.
ANCA is meeting with clients on this issue, but won’t be able to provide “significant outreach” until it secures additional funding, Vennie-Vollrath added in the email.
The center will address the loss of businesses by providing matchmaking services with potential buyers, access to planning tools, and connection with existing services.
The goal is to help owners sell their businesses on the open market, complete intergenerational family transitions, or convert to an employee-owned or cooperative model.
ANCA’s outreach with chambers of commerce and small-business development centers revealed that “open market” sales in rural areas are “often expected by retirees, but are far from a sure thing,” the organization said.
Many small businesses are unable to transfer ownership because new buyers often “fail to materialize in a timely manner,” Fish said. For this reason, having business owners start planning their transition anywhere from three to five years before they retire is a “key objective of this effort.”
ANCA is an independent nonprofit organization that “works to strengthen key sectors of the economy of Northern New York” while focusing on areas that include regional advocacy, local economies, and clean energy, according to its website.
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